All Elite Wrestling star Cody Rhodes praises the promotion’s grit and difference compared to WWE. Cody is coming off a very significant week in his career and heading into another. On the most recent episode of Dynamite, the flagship show of AEW, Cody cut a promo on Chris Jericho that has received widespread praise from fans and analysts as well as Cody’s fellow peers. Speaking to the live crowd, Cody pointed out all the ways that his opponent was a hypocrite and he made a few sly jokes, but he also spoke from the heart about the struggles and stumbles he encountered on his road to the top. Industry experts like Dave Meltzer remarked that Cody’s interview should be taught to aspiring wrestlers. The Rock, one of the icons of the sport, weighed in on social media and praised Cody’s passionate delivery.
Cody’s voice broke as he vowed to defeat Chris Jericho and win the AEW World Championship at Full Gear. But he also vowed that if he couldn’t win, he would no longer challenge for a world title. Cody is both an executive and an in-ring performer for AEW and suggested his concern that the temptations of power and the potential conflicts of interest would be too much for him to overcome. All and all, it was a unique segment in the occasionally over the top realm of professional wrestling. It was raw, honest, and upfront about the storyline tropes which have tended to become derided clichés. Cody cited this difference as a key benefit that AEW has over WWE.
During a media conference call ahead of Full Gear, Cody was asked whether his view of WWE production had changed since he began his backstage role at AEW. Remaining complimentary of WWE, and noting that he’s implemented some of the positives he learned during his time in Vince McMahon’s company, Cody nonetheless pointed out all the ways in which he believes AEW’s production is different.
“There’s a grit and difference to the way Keith Mitchell (AEW Head of Production) produces our television and Tim Walbert, our master director, directs it, and the thing I like the most... is that the production and the talent, the production and the AEW staff, are a family.”
Those differences have not gone unnoticed. While the gap narrowed significantly for their most recent episodes, Dynamite has received better ratings than WWE NXT every week since it first premiered on TNT. NXT has been similarly praised for being a grittier, simpler alternative to the other overly-polished programs of WWE. So far, it’s been a case where the competition has resulted in both promotions putting their best foot forward.
This is likely to continue going into Full Gear. In addition to Cody facing off against Jericho for the top championship, other coveted titles will be defended. Kenny Omega will hope to conclude his heated rivalry with Jon Moxley. Adam Page will do battle against Pac, in a feud that displays no signs of slowing down. It will be AEW’s first PPV event since their weekly show began. If previous PPVs are anything to go by, it’s sure to be memorable.
AEW: Full Gear takes place on November 9th.